Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tour -- Hamburg

We flew overnight to Hamburg. Arriving in the morning we had the rest of the day free to settle in and get acclimated. My strategy for getting over jet lag is to stay up as late as possible the day of arrival with no napping and no alcohol. I try to get a lot of exercise, whether it's running or just a lot of walking. I expect to feel lousy all day, but I usually sleep well that night and feel better the next day.

Hamburg is a great city for biking and running. There are two lakes and many canals with paths around them. The larger lake, the Aussenalster is beautiful and surrounded by park land, yacht clubs and villas. It is just over 3 miles around.

Running has really caught on in Europe. Each time I'm here I notice more activity.

By contract we get the next day off to recover from jet lag. This is very helpful. You can practice, look around and rest. The instrument trunks, which are shipped separately from us, are often not yet loaded into the hall so they are sometimes not available. For each trip you have the choice to pack the bassoon or carry it with you.

However, if you play a larger instrument like cello,bass or contra bassoon, you have no choice. These cannot be carried on the plane, obviously.  Thus, those who pack their instruments are forced to spend  a few days away from them at the start of the tour. Some people enjoy the break, others don't like it.  One of our members has a fold-up cello he packs so he can practice during those free days.

In large European cities there are often other major musical events going on while you're there. Hamburg was no exception. Alan Gilbert was there conducting the North German Radio Orchestra the night before our concert. Previously our Assistant Conductor, Gilbert came to our concert and made contact with many of us. Also present was our Music Director Laureate, Christoph von Dohnanyi. He has roots in Hamburg where his brother was the mayor.

Brahms was born and grew up in Hamburg (see photo above). It is a city with a rich musical heritage.

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